Half century later, antique stove still keeps cooking

The photo of the stove from the GE advertisement in the April 1955 edition of Better Homes & Gardens.

Some time ago I wrote a column about my stove. The headline read: “They don’t build them like that anymore,” a direct quote from an appliance man who saw the stove when he was delivering a new refrigerator.

His comment was understandable. This top-of-the-line GE stove at the time was installed by the previous owners when my house was built in the mid-1950s. When I purchased the home in 1979, the stove was still going strong, as it is today.

Well, not exactly; but I’m getting ahead of myself here.

The column brought several positive responses from readers. One woman (I’ll call her Laura for the sake of confidentiality) wrote a complimentary letter that included a photo of her stove. It turned out to be slightly different from mine in a few respects because her stove (still in use) is a newer model than mine.

I phoned to thank her for writing and we had a friendly chat. But it didn’t end there. One day she returned my call and invited me to come to her house for lunch.

Her culinary prowess was immediately evident when I sat down at the table. Imagine being served salmon mousse in the shape of a fish! It was delightful to look at and even more delightful to eat.

But the lunch wasn’t the only surprise. I discovered that Laura is a collector, but not a run-of-the-mill tag sale collector.

Her home is filled with many interesting, rare and expensive things, including beautiful antiques. One example was a collection of pewter molds like the one she used for the mousse.

Little did I know at the time how I would benefit from one item she had collected.

Sometime later I returned Laura’s hospitality when I welcomed her into my home for lunch. Soon after she arrived Laura sat down on the sofa next to me, opened her purse and handed me a folded page from an April 1955 issue of a Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

I opened it carefully, as the paper had turned slightly yellow and was fragile with age.

I was dumbfounded as I found myself staring at a full-page advertisement for my stove (go to SheltonHerald and search for “stove” to see the photo of the stove in the ad). In retrospect, I’m assuming Laura saved this page all these years because of her interest in her own stove.

She generously parted with it as she told me it was mine to keep. What a treasure.

As you can see, the double oven, four burners, two large storage drawers, ample working space and its heavy duty enamel probably made it one of the largest non-commercial stoves on the market at the time.

Through my more than 30 years of using the stove, I’ve had little use for the larger oven, so the small one was my choice for baking and broiling.

This over-use was probably my downfall recently when I was broiling steak for dinner and disaster struck. I had the kitchen radio on at the time, and the first sound of trouble was the loud static coming from the radio.

It was fortunate that the oven door was ajar, the position required while broiling, so as I whirled around I saw to my horror that the oven was in flames. The top heating unit had caught fire.

The only thing I could think to do was to turn the knob that shut off the electricity to the unit. I breathed a sigh of relief when that solved the problem.

I have considered but abandoned the idea of calling an electrician. There may be more wrong with that oven than meets the eye, especially when dealing with a stove that is approaching 60 years of service.

The timer and the clock on the stove have not worked for as long as I can remember; the burners are very slow in comparison to the modern electric stove, and now one oven is gone.

I still have the large oven and broiler and four good burners, so I’m good to go. After all those years of trustworthy service, I have no intention of abandoning my stove.